Sunday, July 15, 2018

We Are of Those Who Believe in Those Sacred Writings

I would assume that most of you are like me and have quite a TBR (To Be Read) list.  I actually have two: my regular one and a Sherlockian one.  The Sherlockian one is then broken down into subsets: The Shaw 100, Scholarship, Pastiche, Graphic Novels...  I know, I'm a nerd.

One of the books that has been on my list for quite a while has been Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson: A Textbook of Friendship by Christopher Morley.  Normally, this pleasant volume would have been a nice Sherlockian treat along with my other summer reading.  But it so happened that I read this book right after I had just finished reading about the Q Source document.  I will leave it to Wikipedia to define:

The Q source (also Q documentQ Gospel, or Q from GermanQuelle, meaning "source") is a hypothetical written collection of primarily Jesus' sayings (logia). Q is part of the common material found in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke but not in the Gospel of Mark. According to this hypothesis, this material was drawn from the early Church's Oral Tradition.

That led me to re-reading some information on the Gnostic gospels, or biblical texts that are not part of the New Testament.  There is quite a bit of discussion on how true these texts are to the Christian beliefs, and their veracity is debated by biblical scholars.

Now, how did this affect my Sherlockian pleasure reading?  Well, as I was reading Morley's book, I was still thinking about some of the points in the biblical scholarship, and then Morley mentioned Holmes' cases beyond the recorded Canon written by Dr. Watson.

And then I realized: Sherlockiana has its own Q Source and Gnostic texts.

The biblical Q is a supposed document that has been lost to time, but its influence reverberates throughout history.  And the Sherlockian Q?  Well, let's look at the very first story.  We first meet Sherlock Holmes on page 3 of A Study in Scarlet.  Page 2 introduces us to Dr. Watson.  And what's on page 1?

Being a reprint from the reminiscences of
John H. Watson, M.D.,
late of the Army Medical Department

That's right, STUD, the starting point of the whole Sherlockian Canon is only a small part of a larger text.  I propose that The Reminiscences of John H. Watson, M.D. is our Sherlockian Q text.  Who knows what tales are in that long lost tome?  I bet we'd find out a little more about his "experience of women which extends over many nations and three separate continents" along with some other points of interest.

And what of our own Gnostic texts, those stories that scholars argue over their inclusion into the Canon?  Some may say the Sherlockian Gnosticism should be Watson's mentioned but never chronicled cases or even clever pastiches by other authors. 

But, I offer that our Sherlockian totem knowledge should be treated as such. 

  • Watson's middle name as Hamish
  • Holmes' birthday
  • Sherlock's older brother Sherrinford
  • Etc.  

These are all stories and theories that are out there but outside of our written Canon.  Just like the Gospel of Mary of the Acts of John, these are informational points about our main man, but does everyone subscribe to them?  No.

As Christopher Morley famously said about our little hobby: "Never has so much been written by so many for so few."  Maybe we have a new branch of Sherlockian study right here.  Sherlockian Gnosticism.  If we can steal the term "Canon" why not other religious terms?

Sunday, July 8, 2018

It Had Become In Some Way Helpful That I Should Register

I have been spending quite a bit of time on my computer lately working on things for Holmes in the Heartland, happening on August 10-12.  Registration closes in two weeks, and LOTS of emails are being sent, the program is being laid out, registrations are being logged, etc.

And every time I think about Holmes in the Heartland, I either get really excited or have a mild panic attack.

When I see posts like this one about a groundbreaking talk that's being concocting, I'm beyond excited that we will have a great line up of speakers and demonstrations.

Looking at the list of people who have signed up to attend makes me realize that we're going to have a really great group of people at the dinners, social events, and milling about in between Saturday's speakers.

As I was telling my mom about the event this afternoon, it really dawned on me what a nice mix of Sherlockiana and St. Louis we've created.  If I weren't part of The Parallel Case of St. Louis and heard about this conference, I would be VERY interested in checking some of these things out.

And, I know I've said this before but it bears repeating, I really love working with everyone who's been associated with the planning process.  Throwing something of this scale together in just a few months' time has been a true testament to how great everyone on the planning committee is, and how much they want to put on a really great Sherlockian event.

In my mind, all of these things are great.  But I've never been in charge of a large event like this, and my anxiety kicks into overdrive every now and again with this.  Especially now that the end of registration is THIS MONTH.  And we are just over a month away from the actual event.  What have I forgotten to do?  What needs to be followed up on?  What have I not even thought about?  Will the older and younger Sherlockians mesh well?  Did I make a wrong decision along the way in the planning?  What if everyone at the weekend catches some strand of avian flu?

Okay, I admit I let my imagination run away there.

But, man oh man, does Holmes in the Heartland get me excited.  Usually in the good sense, but sometimes in a more neurotic way.

Do you want to help my nervousness?  Sign up to join us!  C'mon, you know you want to...


Blues music!

Sherlockian speakers!

A brand new research collection!

Fight sequences!

A surprise speaker!

Delicious Italian dinner!

Medical history!

Afternoon tea!

And best of all, other Sherlockians to spend the weekend with!

So, make like Holmes in The Engineer's Thumb:  Forego your Bohemian habits so far as to come and visit us!

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Interesting Interviews: Ray Betzner

July's Interesting Interview is with Ray Betzner, BSI.  I got to meet Ray this year at the Holmes, Doyle and Friends conference and wrote about what a great guy he is in that post, so I won't overflow too much with compliments here.  I will say that he is a very knowledgeable, witty and friendly guy and definitely someone we should all be lucky enough to spend time with.  

(Side note, as I am typing this intro, Ray has been commenting on my vacation photos on Facebook.  So, he's not just a friendly guy when it comes to Sherlockiana!)

Ray runs the great blog, Studies in Starrett, which, for any Sherlockian interested in the founding fathers of our hobby, is a must read.  In perfect timing, I invited Ray to do this interview on the same week that his blog is going on a summer hiatus, so make sure to go back and read some of his earlier work while waiting for his return in the fall!

How do you define the word “Sherlockian”?

I once knew how to define a Sherlockian, but the field has become so diverse in recent years that it’s not easy. It’s certainly an expanded universe today, and that is for the best.

How did you become a Sherlockian?

I first read parts of the Canon as a child. When I was 16 and could drive, one of the first places I went was the local library, which had two Holmes books: THE COMPLETE SHERLOCK HOLMES with the Christopher Morley introduction, and THE PRIVATE LIFE OF SHERLOCK HOLMES by Vincent Starrett. Reading the entire Canon was a revelation: so many mysteries to be solved.

Starrett’s book talked about Holmes as if he was a living human being. He also recorded the activities of a group of Holmes addicts known as the Baker Street Irregulars. For a kid from working class roots, the group seemed like fantastic characters who lived in a mythical world mere mortals could not enter.

I kept up my interest through college and found great mentors: Andrew Fusco, John Bennett Shaw, Ely Liebow, Chuck and Peggy Henry among many others. Meeting others who shared my passion was (and remains) a great pleasure.

Fifteen years after reading Starrett’s book for the first time, I was invested as a member of the Baker Street Irregulars. Rather than be the end of a journey, it was really just the start of a new chapter and I’ve been engaged with what I think of as “the Sherlockian movement” ever since.

What is your favorite canonical story?

That’s a tough one, and the answer has changed over the decades.  “The Speckled Band” and “The Red-Headed League” were favorites for years.

But as time has gone on, I’ve found my tastes changing. For example, I was never a big fan of “The Adventure of the Dancing Men,” but after spending months editing DANCING TO DEATH, one of the BSI manuscript books, I have become a convert. The story is far more complex than it appears at first and I’ve become intrigued with trying to explain why Holmes failed to prevent his client’s death.

What subset of Sherlockiana really interests you?

I owe Vincent Starrett a huge debt for introducing me to the BSI through THE PRIVATE LIFE OF SHERLOCK HOLMES. So I took an interest in his other Sherlockian writings, and then his other work, which is considerable and highly varied. Four years ago I started a blog, STUDIES IN STARRETT (, and a companion Facebook page. Introducing new folks to the broad range of his work has been a delight. I’ve gotten tremendous positive feedback over the years.

When you think about it, we’ve paid back Morley and Starrett in the best possible way. Holmes was just a small bit of both men’s literary output, but for the most part, it is the Sherlockians who have kept their reputations alive.

What things do you like to research related to Sherlock Holmes?

I largely do research to support my writing and I’ve written everything but pastiches over the decades. I wrote mock radio play parodies about Holmes for several years as entertainment for The Cremona Fiddlers of Williamsburg, a scion I helped start back in the 1980s. Only one of the parodies holds up today, and I would love to see it revived.

I’ve done a handful of traditional trifling monographs, and one well-received talk about how Dr. Watson coped with the deaths of Holmes and Mary. I still think there is much more to be written about Mary and her impact on Holmes and Watson. She has been ignored too long.

It’s probably no surprise that Starrettian studies are my favorite. Editing a new edition of THE PRIVATE LIFE OF SHERLOCK HOLMES for Wessex Press was a true labor of love. And the blog is fun because I get to show off my book collection while bringing Starrett’s work to life.

What are some of the most interesting things you've come across in your time doing Studies in Starrett?

The most unexpected event came when I found a copy of Starrett’s first book of poetry in Vancouver, with an inscription from Starrett to his mother. I was thrilled to have the book, but the story of how it came to be in Canada was bittersweet. Turns out Starrett’s mother committed suicide by jumping from a ferry boat while in Vancouver with a Christian group preaching to the native peoples. She must have taken the book from Chicago to Vancouver on her last trip. The whole story is here:

I have also been lucky enough to purchase a manuscript that includes a copy of Starrett’s immortal poem “221B,” straight out of Starrett’s typewriter Holding that page still makes my hands shake.

Along the way, I’ve also become friends with Starrett’s distant relatives and some have been very kind to share their photos and other family treasures. So I’ve been able to trace his work as a war correspondent in Mexico, his adventures in London as a teen and the trip he and his second wife, Rachel (Ray) took around the world. Those photos are at the Facebook page and a few are here:

And here:

The amazing part to me is that there is so much about Starrett, his life, his family and his work that I have yet to dig into.

How different do you think the world of Sherlockiana would be if Vincent Starrett hadn't contributed to our hobby?  Would there even be a Sherlockian hobby today?

What a great question. That’s one I’ve discussed with others over the years, including Baker Street Journal editor Steven Rothman, the foremost authority on Christopher Morley.  Morley would have certainly started the Baker Street Irregulars without Starrett. That’s certain. But it took Edgar W. Smith to pick up the group and keep it going when Morley wanted to kill it.

Now here’s where Starrett comes in: Smith found Morley by writing to Starrett after reading THE PRIVATE LIFE OF SHERLOCK HOLMES. It’s possible Smith would have met Morley otherwise (they were both in New York), but the fact is that Starrett’s book and his bonhomie helped build the foundation of Sherlock Holmes idolatry that continues through today.

Starrett played a vital role in bringing people together to share their fascination for Holmes. That can’t be disputed.

What Sherlockian things do you like to read other than the Canon?

I read a lot of the Higher Criticism. In fact, I have been going back and re-reading a lot of the criticism that I first found as a teen and in my early 20s, now more than 40 years ago. Having the perspective of time and additional experience brings a new richness to older essays.

I’ve heard the view that more contemporary criticism can’t stack up against that of the Golden Age. What unmitigated bleat! There is a great deal of valuable commentary being written today, which pairs nicely with the best work of Golden Age commentators. I have been especially encouraged by the work from younger folks (which means anyone who has not reached my three score plus) who bring new perspectives to the Sherlock Holmes movement.

The Baker Street Journal continues to be a foundational work. I’ve been a subscriber since my undergraduate years and cannot imagine anyone who takes their Holmes-work seriously—or as seriously as this silliness deserves—without being a subscriber.

If I can continue to do a little log rolling, the books of the Baker Street Irregulars regularly meet the mark, as do those published by Wessex Press. (Full disclosure: I’ve edited a volume for both of those worthy organizations and have enjoyed friendships with the people who dedicate many hours to this labor of love.)

I read very few pastiches and almost no parodies. I’m quite content with 60 stories and besides, it leaves me more shelf space for Starrettian work!

Where do you see Sherlockiana in 5 or 10 years from now?

When you spend a lot of time in the past as I do, you realize predicting the future is especially chancy. What I can say for sure is that the Sherlock Holmes movement is quite elastic and capable of taking in folks with divergent views. We’ve seen this recently with the fuss over those who came to Holmes through BBC Sherlock or other modern adaptations. Those who lacked the good manners to criticize new fans without taking the time to know them have missed out on a lot of good fun. Their loss.

And that is the bottom line for me: Sherlocking is supposed to be fun. It is not a religion with litmus tests or a totalitarian state where strict rules must at all times be obeyed.  It is also not a caste system with elites snooting at those with different views. Holmes himself succeeded by throwing out the rules followed by detectives of his time. He was a disruptor who delighted in tweaking those who thoughtlessly followed the old worn paths.

The Sherlockian world will change, as it must!  Forcing time to stand still produces hardening of the arteries and certain death. The 60 original stories will always be here, regardless of contemporary interpretations. So long as the playfulness remains and the joy in celebrating our joint passion is alive, I feel confident that Sherlockian affection will continue for another 80 years at least.

If I am wrong, dig me up in 80 years and let me know.

Monday, June 25, 2018

So Sinister Was the Impression

I've been reading Diane Gilbert Madsen's Cracking the Code of the Canon, an interesting take on data from the 56 short stories.  The book doesn't consist of essays or research like the typical scholarly book would.  Instead, it is a statistical categorization of information from the Canon.  Wow, I made that sound really dry.  She backs up her data with descriptions and opinions of her findings.  I promise, this isn't some Stats 101 textbook.

One of these categorizations Madsen makes is grouping the criminals in the Canon.  She groups them into "Super Villains," "Exceptional Female Villainesses" and "Demi Villains."  For whatever reason, I had just gone down an internet rabbit hole and spent the previous night reading about a group of Spider-Man super villains named The Sinister Six.  And, because I'm apt to let my mind run rampant with connecting Sherlock Holmes to unrelated things, I spent some time thinking, who would Sherlock Holmes' Sinister Six be?

Spider-Man's Sinister Six was almost spearheaded by the evil genius, Doctor Octopus, and was typically bent on revenge against the hero.  So, using that same framework, I decided that Sherlock's Sinister Six would all have to join together after their respective bouts with Holmes, so anyone that dies in their story would automatically be out.

Madsen lists Professor Moriarty, Colonel Moran, John Clay and Baron Gruner as her super villains.  I think Moriarty and Moran are shoo ins, due to their being the only villains to appear in more than one story, and their history of working together.  Moriarty is obviously the criminal genius in this situation, recruiting others to form this made up team of super villains.

British behavior will be expected in this group, so I think we have to rule Gruner out.  I don't see him as one who would work well with others, anyway.

Victorian society was very concerned with class, so if this is a team that will be meeting and working behind their public personae, we are probably going to want to keep membership to the genteel class, that way no suspicions would arise when Moran plays cards with one of the members in his club, or a member visits Moriarty at his university office.  John Clay attended Eton and Oxford, is the fourth smartest man in London, is the third most daring, and has royal blood.  If he escaped prison after being pulled out of that tunnel, I think we have our third member.

But you know who wouldn't have to escape from prison?  Our next three members, Jephro Rucastle, Sir George Burnwell and James Wilder.  Three villains who all have a reason to want revenge on Holmes yet never went to prison for their crimes.

After Rucastle's first run-in with The Great Detective, he was left broken, mangled, and without his daughter's income.  Unable to leave the house, he has spent his time learning - no, obsessing - about his revenge on Sherlock Holmes.  Imagine his one interaction with Holmes from Rucastle's point of view: he returned home, found his daughter had escaped, a stranger in her room, and when Rucastle tried to protect his home, his own mastiff turned on him, only to be shot and killed by the stranger's accomplice.  Jephro Rucastle is a man bent on revenge.

Sir George Burnwell had a fortune literally ripped from his hands in The Beryl Coronet.  Try as he may, he couldn't overpower Sherlock Holmes, and was forced to flee to freedom with his amor, Mary.  Whether they stayed together is anyone's guess.  But we can be sure that Burnwell wants his revenge on Holmes.

Wilder has every reason to hate Holmes.  He's already prone to hate; just look at how he feels about his stepbrother.  Holmes shows up, ruins his kidnapping scheme, gets his partner put in jail and Wilder gets shipped off to Australia.  Wilder could have found his fortune there, and is spurred on by his hatred for Holmes, that when he comes back to England, he is flush with cash, a (dubious) inroad to the peerage, and would be a perfect recruit for Moran to bring in under his wing.

These six villains have plenty of reasons to wish the end of Sherlock Holmes.  The Great Detective should probably be thankful that they never crossed paths...

P.S. As I went through the list of villains, from Madsen's book, some other names jumped out at me as people who would want revenge on Holmes, but had to be discounted for other reasons.  So, here is my list of honorable mentions.
  • Richard Brunton (MUSG) Pro: very intelligent  Con: dead
  • Charles Augustus Milverton (CHAS) Pro: inroads with many powerful families  Con: dead
  • Hugo Oberstein (BRUC) Pro: meticulous planning  Con: nobody trusts a spy
  • Abe Slaney (DANC) Pro: works well in criminal organization  Con: American
  • Von Bork (LAST) Pro: good wine  Con: no one wants to work with someone working against England
  • Isadora Klein (3GAB) Pro: has her husband's money to spend  Con: Spanish
  • Killer Evans (3GAR) Pro: has a counterfeiting press  Con: American
  • Jack Ferguson - (SUSS) Pro: Plots out in advance  Con: too young
  • Count Sylvius (MAZA) Pro: part of upper society  Con: probably just Moran anyway

Sunday, June 17, 2018

If You Would Kindly Go Over It All Again

Before I get to this week's topic, we are less than two months away from Holmes in the Heartland!  If you haven't registered yet,  you can do so HERE.  If you're interested, but can't commit yet, we have a Facebook event page where you can keep up to date on speakers and participants.

I'm on vacation this week, but I didn't want to miss a post.  So, I wanted to revisit some of my favorite blog posts from the past year.

Sherlockian Imprinting
A recollection of my early interest in Sherlockiana and wondering why some versions stick with me over others.

I Tried to Puzzle It Out
My very favorite post I've ever had.  I found a way to share my love of Sherlockiana with my daughter over the course of a couple of days.

Listen to This, Mister Holmes!
A rundown of some of my favorite Sherlockian things to listen to.

Light Houses, My Boy!  Beacons of the Future!
Each year, I get to spend two weeks teaching my fifth grade students about Sherlock Holmes, and it is the best part of the school year!

An Open Letter to Stephen Moffatt
With over 6,000 reads, this post really blew up!  By far my most popular post, I still stand by how much I don't want another season of Sherlock.

Interesting Interviews: Beth Gallego
I really love doing the Interesting Interviews each month.  There are so many great Sherlockians out there and I love giving them a platform to talk about their interests.  Beth was my very first interview and a great one.

I Am a Sherlockian
Who's a Sherlockian?  We all are.  And we should encourage everyone to join us.  Plus, Ashley Polasek reaffirms why she should be the queen of the Sherlockians.

See you next week!

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Outside of a Show I Have Never Seen

Out of the blue last week, I received an email from a prominent Sherlockian complimenting me on this blog.  I was flying pretty high on that for a few days!

He asked me about one of my first posts where I proposed a Sherlockian reality show, The Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Game is Afoot.  Nothing more ever came from that post, but it was fun to speculate.

In fact, I find myself coming up with Sherlockian TV shows more often than I think the average person would.  Besides the reality show mentioned above, I also developed an animated Adventures of Sherlock Holmes on Nickelodeon one day while I was mowing the lawn.  Half of the episodes would be adapted from canonical stories, and half would be new stories. 

(I do a lot of book to TV adaptations in my head while I'm mowing.  And I don't even watch TV that much.  Unless there's a baseball game on or my wife and I are watching Parks and Rec reruns, I rarely even have the TV on.  I'm weird.)

But this email prompted me to think up a new Sherlockian TV show.  If you've ever walked by a TV when ESPN was on, you've probably seen something that looked like this:

One of ESPN's most famous shows is Around the Horn, a daily show where four panelists debate the day's sports news and are awarded points based on their insights.  Points are awarded and taken away at the host's discretion.  The winner of the show gets to have 30 seconds of Face Time, where they can talk freely about any topic they choose.

And, this show is all done in good fun.  There are obviously disagreements, but everyone is knows the rules and the debates are typically friendly.

See where I'm going with this?

We need a Sherlockian Around the Horn!

Think about all of the different types of Sherlockians out there.  There are thousands of possible panelists:

  • People who only go to their local scion society meetings and don't care about the wider Sherlockian world
  • Sherlockian Twitter fiends
  • Luddites
  • Brettheads
  • Cumberbitches (does anyone still use this term?)
  • Rathbone enthusiasts
  • Elementary fans
  • Shippers
  • Pastiche fans
  • Pastiche haters
  • Scholars
  • Fan fiction fans
  • Cosplayers
  • Chronologists
  • Baby boomers
  • Millennials

This list could go on for a long time.  And I know we can fall into more than one category.  So do the panelists on Around the Horn.  They are all sports fans/reporters.  They just have different opinions on stuff.  We are all Sherlockians.  We just have different opinions on stuff.

People have been thinking and writing about Sherlock Holmes for over a hundred years.  I'm sure a Sherlockian Around the Horn could come up with lots of topics for debate.

  • Is Johnlock canonical?
  • How many wives did Watson have?
  • Who is the worst villain?
  • Excited about a third RDJ film?
  • Opinions on Elementary and Sherlock
  • Which Watson has the best mustache?
  • Does Holmes use deductive or inductive reasoning?
  • How important is Doyle to being a Sherlockian?
  • Thoughts on new pastiches or scholarly books

Can you tell I was mowing the lawn today?

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Interesting Interviews: Vicki Delany

This month's Interesting Interview is with author Vicki Delany.  Vicki is a former president of The Crime Writers of Canada, a long time Sherlockian, and author of more books than I can count.  Her cozy mysteries include the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop mystery series, which currently has three titles out, and a fourth coming this fall.

How do you define the word “Sherlockian”?

My personal definition is someone who is not only just a fan of the Great Detective, but takes their enthusiasm a step further to examine the characters and the plots of the books or movies deeper than the average keen reader does.  I maintain that someone who might be a fan of the TV shows, movies, or pastiche novels, isn’t a true Sherlockian without having read the full Canon. A true Sherlockian is someone who capitalizes the Great Detective.

How did you become a Sherlockian?

I read the Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle early on in my life and enjoyed them, but my real interest started with the Jeremy Brett TV series. I loved Brett’s portrait of the Great Detective and all the hidden emotions he brought to it. After that I re-read the stories with a better eye for nuance and detail.

What is your favorite canonical story?

The Speckled Band. Truly creepy, in more ways than one. I have an article on The Speckled Band coming later this year in an academic publication (Villains, Victims and Violets) in which I examine the characters of Helen and Julia Stoner and the choices (or lack thereof) facing them through a feminist lens.

What subset of Sherlockiana really interests you?

I love the short story collections offering various interpretations of Sherlock Holmes. Some very clever pastiche novels are being written today.  Some are not so clever.

What things do you like to research related to Sherlock Holmes?

In my Sherlock Holmes Bookshop mystery series, every book and item of merchandise offered for sale exists in the real world.  I love looking for books for my character Gemma to refer to her customers or to read herself.

Why do you think that so many Sherlockians enjoy cozy mysteries?

Cozy mysteries are true puzzle mysteries. The clues are laid down for the reader to follow. The astute reader should have a good chance of reaching the correct conclusion at the same time as the fictional detective. I think Sherlockians are almost by definition lovers of puzzles: written ones at any rate. The cozy mystery detective is not a professional.  Which means she or he doesn’t have access to forensic analysis, CCTV camera footage, phone records, bank and police records etc etc. Like the Great Detective, they have little more than their intelligence and observation of the people around them to help them solve the crime.

How did you come up with the idea for The Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mysteries?

I was casting about for an idea for an interesting bookstore for my character to own, and hit on the idea of a store dedicated to Sherlock Holmes.  There isn’t much more popular in the world of popular culture today than Sherlock Holmes, and it’s entirely feasible to have a store dedicated to nothing but Holmes. But then, almost without my planning it, Gemma Doyle, the main character, became Sherlock-like. She has a mind like Holmes – for good and not-so-good. It’s been enormous fun to try to recreate Sherlock as a modern young woman.

Can you give us any hints as to what book four, "A Scandal in Scarlet" might hold for your fans?

A Scandal in Scarlet, coming in November 2018, is the fourth book in the series.  Gemma Doyle and her business partner Jayne Wilson host an afternoon tea and silent auction at Mrs. Hudson’s Tea Room, next door to The Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium, as a fundraiser for Scarlet House, West London’s museum. But when the chair of the museum board is found strangled in the storage room, and the police seem to be focusing on the wrong (according to Gemma) suspect, the game is once again afoot and it’s up to the usually perceptive Gemma and the loyal, but ever-confused Jayne, to sort out the impossible and the improbable to arrive at the truth. 

One doesn’t have to be a Sherlockian to enjoy the books in this series, but I hope being so adds to the pleasure. I occasionally drop a few references that non-Sherlockians won’t pick up, but failure to do so doesn’t interfere with the story. For example, there are seventeen steps to the second floor of 222 Baker Street.

What Sherlockian things do you like to read other than the Canon?

As I said above, I particularly love some of the short story anthologies, such as Echoes ofSherlock Holmes and In the Company ofSherlock Holmes, edited by Leslie S. Klinger. My favourite anthology is Holmes for the Holidays. I love the MaryRussell books by Laurie R. King. And I like the collection of essays edited by Christopher Redmond beginning with AboutSixty. (Full confession, I have a piece in the next one Sherlock Holmes Is Like). I was lucky enough to get a signed cozy of FromHolmes to Sherlock from Mattias Bostrom at Malice Domestic, and I am planning on relaxing with that by the pool this summer.

Where do you see Sherlockiana in 5 or 10 years from now?

Stronger and stronger. The enthusiasm for all things Sherlock is not dying down any time soon.